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75th Independence Day: PM Modi to host Olympic contingent at Red Fort

New Delhi: As India marks its 75th Independence Day, with muted celebrations for the second year in a row from the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will raise the national flag from the ramparts of the Red Fort on Sunday and host India’s Olympic heroes.

For the first time, two Mi-17 1V helicopters of the Indian Air Force will be flying over the ground showering flower petals with the unfurling of the flag by the Prime Minister. Following the showering of flower petals, the Prime Minister will address the nation at 7:30 am.

A tight security arrangement has been put in place for the event in the national capital, and anti-drone defence systems have been deployed in sensitive areas, Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana announced.

A total of 32 medal winners from the Olympics and two officials from the Sports Authority of India (SAI) have been invited to attend the celebrations at the Red Fort on Sunday, the Defence Ministry said in a statement.

Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, who won the gold medal during the Tokyo Olympics, is one of 32 athletes invited to take part in the celebrations, but reports indicate that he may not be able to attend as he has high fever. ‘Around 240 Olympians, support staff and the SAI and sports federation officials have also been invited to grace the Gyan Path in front of the ramparts,’ the Defence Ministry said. At the Olympics this year, India scored its best-ever medal haul by winning seven medals – one gold, two silver and four bronze.

The ministry has created a separate block on the south side of the Red Fort’s ramparts to honor Covid warriors such as health workers who played a vital role in fighting the pandemic. India is commemorating its 75th Independence Day as ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’, with events planned across the country, the Defence Ministry said.

On the eve of Independence Day, President Ram Nath Kovind addressed the nation, expressing grief over the deaths in the second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic.


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